Mon | Sep 26, 2022

Wait on Brianna

Lyston’s coach doesn’t want sprint star to be rushed

Published:Sunday | April 24, 2022 | 12:13 AMRobert Bailey - Gleaner Writer
Brianna Lyston
Brianna Lyston

COREY BENNETT, head coach of Hydel High School, says the institution’s sprint star Brianna Lyston will not be rushed into the professional ranks.

Lyston is having a phenomenal season, smashing the 200m record at the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships earlier this month and laying down the fastest 100-metre time of the season at 11.16 seconds. The Class One 200-metre record now stands at 22.53.

In fact, Lyston’s 200 time is the second fastest in the world this year by a junior behind 2020 Olympic Games silver medallist, Namibia’s Christine Mboma, who has run 22.12 this season.

The 17-year-old Lyston, who is a former St Jago athlete, is also ranked number two in the world this season over the shorter sprint, again behind Mboma’s 11.03.

As a 12-year-old five years ago, Lyston set world age group records in both the 100 and 200 but was hit by injuries in Class Three and Class Two.

However, she has rediscovered her form since her move to Hydel three seasons ago and according to Bennett, Lyston will be staying in school until her time has come to an end.

Bennett’s comments have come in response to a number of track and field enthusiasts and in some cases, actual stakeholders. The fairly vocal groups have been clamouring for the young sprint star to make the move into the professional ranks.

“The young lady is still a schoolgirl and she has another year in school and I am not going to allow anybody to force her out of school before it is her time to leave,” said Bennett.

“Persons won’t be allowed to put pressure on me or the young lady to do something that we are not ready to do. She is a young girl because she is just 17 and you can’t just put her into an adult life,” Bennett said.

According to Bennett, in the past many of the country’s promising young athletes have left high school early to turn professional and in the majority of instances, these athletes end up falling by the wayside.

“A professional is supposed to be an adult and we are not going to put her in there for her to fail,” Bennett said.

COME A FAR WAY

“We are not going to allow that to happen because she has come a far way and we are not going to derail the programme because persons are up in arms about what she is supposed to do. Why they didn’t have an opinion before,” he said.

Bennett stated that there are a number of other talented Jamaican junior athletes that are out there who have not been pressured the way that Lyston has been into going professional at this time.

“I don’t hear anybody pressuring the World Under-20 champion (Tina Clayton) who holds a faster PB (personal best) than Brianna,” he said.

“We will be taking our time with her and so for now the aim is the junior trial and I think that is with all respect to how she is doing,” Bennett said.

“There are many seniors that are way ahead of her and so there is no need to go and dance to the big wolves and you can still manage yourself in your age group.”

robert.bailey@gleanerjm.com